Before and After – The Basement Bathroom

Friday, August 3, 2012
finish a basement bathroom

For each area of my basement finishing projects I’ve created some start-to-finish posts.  Each of these posts lay out the steps I took in each specific area and how they ended up.  Hopefully these offer some basement design ideas of your own, but also show you what you can get done when you put your mind to it!

Check out my basement bathroom finishing forum if you have additional questions as well!

Did someone say VIP shower?!? It’s official, when you tile to the ceiling you’re living VIP style. The basement bathroom was one of the largest undertakings of my basement finish. The tile required basically an entire week’s worth of time, but when all is said and done I couldn’t be happier.

As always, comments and questions are more than welcome. If I didn’t cover anything in this post you’ve got questions on, check out my basement bathroom finishing forum and post some topics. I’m here to help you finish your basement bathroom in VIP fashion!




  1. Kevin says:


    How did the tiled shower come out? Will you be providing your steps for that process?

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Kevin,

      The tiled shower came out so great, I’m very pleased. I’ll be updating the site with more information and pictures this week so stay tuned!

  2. Erik says:

    Half wall appears to not be floating, and full wall framing around shower appear to be floating. Did you do anything special to deal with possible differential movement between walls, and is wall float lost if you tile from floor to ceiling?

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Erik,

      You are right, this does negate the wall float in this area. I saw no way around it from my perspective in order to provide support for the half wall.

      As for the tile you’re right, it seems the float is lost with this approach also. In my research before starting the project I did see instances where people built their walls so the float was on the ceiling instead of on the floor and then covered it with crown moulding. That may have been a solution here.

      In the end the inspector didn’t say anything about these areas so all was good! 🙂

      1. Jack says:

        Erik, Tony,
        I am against this problem right now… I do like the idea of leaving float space at the top for tile weight and to eliminate any deferential with the shower pan but one of the existing walls already up is floating from the bottom.This wall also connects to all other walls floating from the bottom. Is there a better work around that can eliminate any stress on the tile job?

        1. Tony says:

          Hey Erik!

          Sorry I’m having a problem with my spam filtering and missed your comment. At the end of the day if your basement slab really does heave, you’re going to have problems no matter which area of the basement it happens in. Obviously the tile would be the biggest headache though.

          Here’s a link to another forum which discusses this exact issue: Shower With Floating Walls

          They recommend the float at the top approach as well from what I can gather. When was your home built? If it’s been around for more than 3-5 years I’ve been told by quite a few people that you probably won’t have any problems in the future.

          Hopefully this helps shed some light on the problem and let me know if you have any other questions!

  3. Tomasz Banas says:

    Hi Tony,
    Very nice bathroom. What is the size of it? Do you have any charts you could share? I want to do exactly the same bathroom in my basement – I love it.

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Tomasz,

      Thanks for the questions, and for your compliments! We love the bathroom as well, I think it came out really nice. I’d love to share more detailed info with you. Give me a day or two and I’ll respond with some measurements for you.


      1. Tomasz Banas says:

        Hi Tony,
        Any luck?

  4. Tomasz Banas says:

    Hi Tony,
    I’m still waiting. Did you have a chance to look for it?

    1. Tony says:

      Tomasz you’ve been so patient! I really do have it on my to-do list this time. I’ll be in touch very soon!

  5. Ron says:

    That’s a very cool shower! I’m going to look into doing something like this in my own basement.

    1. Tony says:

      Thanks Ron! Best of luck with your bathroom finish project and let me know if you run into any questions!


  6. Cassie says:

    I’m currently remodeling & combining my two bathrooms into one large bathroom to for the space & to incorporate a garden style tub… However, after realizing I now has plenty extra space & the water line & drain already in position where the old bathtub was, I decided to install a walk in shower. My questions are what material does the half wall need to be built with before placing the tile over it & does the same process apply when adding a small shower seat?

    1. Tony says:

      Hi Cassie!

      Thanks for the comment. The half wall and shower seat can be framed out with 2x4s. Once you’ve framed it out, any area that will get wet you’ll want to cover with HardieBacker cement board instead of drywall. At that point you are ready to lay your tile as you normally would!

      Let me know if you have any further questions about this process.

  7. Claudia says:

    Do you have a problem with water escaping the shower with this design? I like it a lot but am fearful it would cause a mess for me.

    1. Tony says:

      Hello Claudia! Our original design was to put a pane of glass on the half wall, but we ran out of budget 🙂 We ended up using a shower curtain that worked just fine! With the rainfall we didn’t have any issues with the water escaping. Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns! Thanks Claudia and best of luck with your basement bathroom project!

  8. Jessica Campbell says:

    I realize this is a project from eight years ago, but I’m hoping you can give some guidance still. We’re in Colorado and need floating walls, but will be putting a wet bar in, which requires cabinetry and plumbing. I’m thinking we have a pony wall to accommodate all that, but can’t figure out how to securely attach the pony wall to the floating frame. From your pictures here, it looks like maybe the pony wall doesn’t need to float. Is that correct?

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Jessica! Sorry for the slow response, and if you’ve already jumped in on your project I would love to hear more!

      Yes so you should be able to comfortably secure your half or pony wall to the floating wall without needing to retain the float. I did not have any issues with this during inspection, but did not ask that question specifically. As we really have no other options in this case, you should be good to go!

  9. Ryan says:

    Hi Tony,

    I happen to have a basement bathroom I framed out a year ago with the same wall layout. Would you mind sharing your exterior wall dimensions? I’d like to see if I can do a similar layout inside.

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Ryan! You can find my dimensions on the Basement Design & Planning page in my step-by-step guide. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  10. Scott says:

    Tony, I stumbled on this site and love, love, love your bathroom design. I’d like to follow suit. Got a question about your half wall. In the pictures, it looks like the shower doorway goes right to the floor since the half wall doesn’t connect to the other end of the wall. Yet you’ve got a nice step in that you’ve tiled over in the finished pictures. Did you put a couple of 2x4s to frame the open shower doorway and then drywall and tile over that? How did you create that nice step-in doorway?

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